Many old school customization projects start off as a rags to riches story, with an owner’s desire to restore the former glory of a vintage ride. The 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28 customized by Gearhead Garage in Northern Cali was one such vehicle. The car was a random find, but wasn’t exactly as advertised, showing up to the garage after a long trek from the East Coast with a bit of rust and some typical old school car issues that the shop was actually able to iron out quite nicely.
The Z28 was never slated to be such an elaborate build, but the customer decided early in the game to stop working on two other cars he had in the shop (some over-the-top Pro Touring first-generation Camaros) and go “over the top” on this one instead. As a real Z28 302 car with the trim tag intact, the Camaro arrived at Gearhead Garage as a barely running vehicle, with a knocking 454 engine (which was less than the original 302, obviously). The customer decided to stick with a big block power plant and that evolved into including a 5-speed Tremec, then a Dart 540 with stacked injection. A custom 3″exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers let it growl like a beast, while Imagine Injection stacked fuel injection with a Fast XFI Sportsman engine control system and Aeromotive Stealth fuel system provide for extra ponies under the hood.
Because the Camaro was meant to be driven, a comfortable ride was important, and a Hotchkis front suspension, steering and chassis stiffeners with QA1 adjustable coilover front shocks and Varishock adjustable coilover rear shocks gets the job done. A set of our Forged SV44-S wheels with Brushed Center and Chrome Lip wrapped in Nexen 235/35R19 front and 275/30R20 rear rubber set off the Camaro’s stance, while custom smoothed and painted front and rear bumpers enhance its classic styling.
The interior was also given a complete custom makeover, with a one-off ARC Audio system, Recaro seats, a “sexier” steering wheel, custom sewn and stitched dashpad and bespoke trunk lid cover. The crew also added a custom integrated radar detection that was hardwired throughout the car, GPS tracking, power windows and locks and a modern rear view mirror with temperature and compass.
The restoration on the Chevy was on the “fast track” since day one and took less than a year to complete since the crew at Gearhead Garage knew exactly what they were doing, given they specialize in Camaros. The guys at Gearhead Garage are known for their ability to resurrect any junk ride and turn it into a road-ready machine in a reasonable amount of time.
Thanks to Gearhead Garage for a flawless build and California Wheels for the proper fitment and install.
Photos by: Richard Le (IG @Richardlephoto)